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Indiana beekeepers to meet at Purdue

By Becki Francis
Ag Communications
February 19, 2007

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Beekeepers of all experience levels can attend the Indiana Beekeepers' Association spring meeting on March 3 at Purdue University.

The meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Stewart Center, Room 314.

"The purpose of the meeting is to learn how to be good beekeepers," said Greg Hunt, Purdue Extension bee specialist. "It really appeals to all kinds of beekeepers, from people thinking about starting beekeeping to advanced beekeepers."

The keynote speaker will be Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota researcher and president of the American Association of Professional Apiculturalists, a group that does applied research on bees. Spivak researches selective breeding for resistance to Varroa mites, and will discuss this in her speech, "Resistant Bees and Beekeepers."

Another topic beekeepers can learn about is winter feeding. When honey is collected, the bees' primary food source for the winter is limited. Honey provides energy for the bees to keep warm.

"Bees regulate their body temperature by eating honey and flexing their muscles, not by hibernating like many people think," Hunt said. "This creates heat within the hive, usually 70 degrees Fahrenheit when there is no brood (eggs or larvae). If the bees don't have enough honey in the hive to last until early April, when the first flowers blossom, beekeepers need to feed them a sugar syrup."

Once the queen's egg laying is amplified in February and March, the hive must be kept as warm as 92 degrees. Honey consumption increases considerably, and in a production setting it is common for bees to use all of the winter honey stores, Hunt said.

Breakout sessions will include early spring feeding of the Purdue bees (weather permitting), beginning beekeeper questions and answers, as well as assessing winter losses and preparing for spring. Purdue entomology and forestry and natural resources experts will also give updates relevant to beekeepers. 

A honey cooking demonstration will be given by the 2007 Indiana honey queen and princess, Abigail Biddle and Marisa Yochum, respectively. There will also be an auction of honey and beekeeping products to benefit the honey queen and princess program.

Registration fees are $15 and include lunch. Registration begins at 8 a.m. on site, and the meeting will begin at 9 a.m.  For more information, call (888) EXT-INFO

Writer: Becki Francis, (765) 496-1050, rfrancis@purdue.edu

Source: Greg Hunt, (765) 494-4605, ghunt@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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